The Nebraska football coaches hit the ground running between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15. With the 2014 recruiting cycle coming down to the homestretch, head coach Bo Pelini and his staff had a lot of work to do.
By the end of the two-week continuous hop from place to place, Nebraska has secured 26 players in its 2014 class as of now.
Pelini felt the surge in recruiting went well, as he told Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star:
The reception we got on the recruiting trail was very good. I like the way it went. I thought we got a lot done. We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. And we're going to have to do the same when the middle of January hits and it (recruiting) opens back up again.
Pelini and his staff can’t make face-to-face contact with recruits until Jan. 15, but the Huskers expect to head back out for a second surge as soon as possible. The Husker staff has always favored the home visits prior to signing day, as it tends to make the biggest impact.
With the new rule preventing coaches from home visits during this dead period, Pelini is focused on winning the bowl game. Beating Georgia in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 could secure plenty of recruits.
After all, as the Lincoln Journal Star’s Christopherson pointed out, a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in last year’s bowl game.
Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this year’s rematch with the Bulldogs and the success of Pelini and staff come Jan. 15.
Note: All 2013 stats via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
February 3 Update
The Huskers added six prospects on Saturday and Sunday, per the Omaha World Herald. Of those six, three are for the 2014 class and three are for the 2015 class.
January 27 Update
Nebraska picks up a much needed commit from Plant City, Fla. defensive end Sedrick King. He selected the Huskers over Central Florida, per the Omaha World Herald. With the loss of Avery Moss, Nebraska was in need of another defensive end on the roster. King could make an impact quickly because of that.
January 20 Update
CB Chris Jones flips his decision from Purdue to Nebraska, per the Omaha World Herald.
January 19 Update
Terrell Clinkscales, a 4-star DT, has decommitted from Nebraska. He has instead selected Kansas State.
January 16 Update
Darius Slade, a 3-star SDE, has decommitted from Nebraska. He now holds an offer from Ohio State.
Nebraska is hosting the first annual Big Red #Boom National Signing Day Party on Feb. 5 at 5:30pm in Lincoln, Neb. Tickets are $35/person or $500 for a table of 10. However, the event is listed as "invite only."
January 15 Update
Nebraska will get a shot at Vanderbilt commit Mikale Wilbon, per 247Sports.com. Wilbon is a four-star running back (subscription needed to view content).
January 9 Update
Nebraska has landed New Orleans WR recruit Jariah Tolbert, via the Omaha World Herald.
January 6 Update
The ESPN Big Ten Twitter account is reporting that DB coach Terry Joseph has told a recruit he will be signing a contract with Texas A&M this week. This could make things a little more difficult for Nebraska on the recruiting trail, as Joseph was the man with the big connections in the south.
OT Brian Wallace has selected Arkansas. He made his decision during the Army All-American Bowl.
Weston, Florida's Deion Hallmon has plenty of offers on the table but that isn't stopping Nebraska from showing interest. In fact, the Huskers are hoping for a visit from the cornerback. He has not made a decision to visit yet but with Nebraska searching for more cornerbacks, Hallmon may make the trip, via Rivals.com (subscription needed to view content).
December 30 Update
According to 247Sports.com, OT Brian Wallace has narrowed his choices to Alabama and Arkansas. He plans to make a decision by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4.
December 27 Update
As reported by the Omaha World Herald, head coach Bo Pelini said Nebraska could sign as many as 25 players in the 2014 class. If needed, cornerback Byerson Cockrell and defensive end Joe Keels could count toward the 2013 class.
Nebraska currently has 19 known commitments.
The Huskers' recruiting class is currently ranked No. 37 by 247Sports.com.
While Pelini and his staff cannot make face-to-face contact with recruits until Jan. 15, he fully expects Nebraska to hit the road hard before signing day on Feb. 5.
Zack Darlington in action for Apopka High School
Zack Darlington, 3-star dual-threat QB; 6’3”, 200 lbs.; Apopka, Fla. (247Sports)
AJ Bush, 3-star dual-threat QB; 6'3", 211 lbs.; Alpharetta, GA (247Sports)
Darlington is confident that he will play football again. At least that's what he told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel.
It's tough to know what the future holds for Darlington after two concussions in a two-month span.
Regardless, Coach Pelini has stayed committed to Darlington being a Husker. He even made it clear that he will honor his scholarship even if the quarterback never suits up, per the Omaha World Herald.
However, Darlington is set to enroll in classes at Nebraska in January. He will work out in spring drills and move forward.
It's hard to say what will happen, but as long as he stays safe, no one is faulting Darlington for trying.
Larenzo Stewart at Klein Oak High School
Larenzo Stewart, 3-star APB; 5’6”, 170 lbs.; Spring, Texas (247Sports)
Mikale Wilbon, 3-star RB; 5'9", 195 lbs.; Chicago, Ill. (247Sports)
In his career with Klein Oak, Larenzo Stewart rushed for 2,345 yards and 21 touchdowns, per the Omaha World Herald.
While small, Stewart is mighty. He is also quick. He finished fifth in the 100-meter dash at the Texas 5A State Championships, as reported by the Omaha World Herald.
Stewart will have a chance to learn from Nebraska's best in I-back Ameer Abdullah in 2014. He will also join running back Adam Taylor, a fellow Texas native, who joined the 2013 class.
Stewart has a lot of potential and should add a good amount to Nebraska's portfolio.
Robert Lockhart as a member of the 2012 Miami Hurricanes class
Monte Harrison, 4-star WR; 6’3”, 200 lbs.; Lees Summit, Mo. (247Sports)
Robert Lockhart, 3-star WR; 6’1”, 185 lbs.; Raymond, Miss. (247Sports)
Freedom Akinmoladun, 3-star TE; 6’5”, 238 lbs.; Hillsboro, Mo. (247Sports)
Demornay Pierson-El, 3-star WR/ATH; 5'9”, 171 lbs.; Alexandria, Va. (247Sports)
Jariah Tolbert, Not Yet Rated WR; 6'3", 185 lbs.; New Orleans, Louis. (247Sports)
Glenn Irons, 2-star WR; 5'10", 170lbs.; New Orleans, La. (247Sports)
Nebraska coach Rich Fisher has built a strong group of wideouts.
That doesn't stop with the 2014 recruiting class.
One of the standouts of the 2014 class so far is wide receiver Robert Lockhart. Originally a member of the 2012 Miami recruiting class, Lockhart transferred after an ACL tear.
Per the Omaha World Herald, Lockhart had always been a fan of the Huskers out of high school. The timing may not have been right a couple of years ago, but it is now.
The talent doesn't stop with Lockhart in the 2014 recruiting class. Wide receiver Monte Harrison is another gem for Fisher.
Harrison's high school, Lee's Summit West, captured its second title in four years. Part of the factor in that win was a touchdown from Harrison, as reported by the Lee's Summit Journal.
From there, both Akinmoladun and Pierson-El also bring their own sets of talents to Fisher's unit.
Akinmoladun was the big commit for Fisher as he was seeking a tight end. After offering and hosting countless players only to lose them elsewhere, Akinmoladun emerged as someone who could really fit what the Huskers needed.
Based on the success of the wideouts under Fisher, it's likely a positive sign for Nebraska fans in the interest receivers have in playing for the Huskers.
Tanner Farmer during an official visit to Nebraska
Tanner Farmer, 4-star OG; 6’3.5”, 302 lbs.; Highland Park, Ill. (247Sports)
D.J. Foster, 3-star OG; 6’1”, 300 lbs.; Lincoln, Neb. (247Sports)
Nick Gates, 4-star OT; 6'5", 270lbs.; Las Vegas, Nev. (247Sports)
To start, it doesn't look promising that offensive tackle Brian Wallace will commit to Nebraska. In fact, it looks like he will likely pick between Alabama and Iowa. Regardless, he's still on Nebraska's target list, but fans shouldn't hold their breath.
It doesn't matter, though. The Huskers have plenty more to look forward to at the offensive line position.
Both offensive guard Tanner Farmer and offensive guard D.J. Foster look to bring some talent to the unit.
Foster is a native of Nebraska, hailing from Lincoln Southeast High School. Farmer isn't from too far away either, as a native of Highland Park, Ill.
The Huskers beat out quite a few good programs, including Georgia and Missouri, for Foster's commitment. However, Nebraska did have an advantage.
Foster's older brother, Trey Foster, is currently on the Huskers' roster, per 1011 News in Lincoln, Neb.
Regardless of how he got to Nebraska, Foster will add a lot to Nebraska's offensive line. Farmer will as well.
There's a lot to look forward to with these two.
Joe Keels at his official visit to Nebraska
Joe Keels, 4-star DT; 6’4”, 274 lbs.; Highland, Kan. (247Sports)
Peyton Newell, 4-star DT; 6’2”, 285 lbs.; Hiawatha, Kan. (247Sports)
Mick Stoltenberg, 3-star; 6’6”, 250 lbs.; Gretna, Neb. (247Sports)
Sedrick King, 3-star WDE; 6'3.5", 250 lbs.; Plant City, Flor. (247Sports)
DeAndre Wills, 3-star DE; 6'3", 262 lbs.; Lineville, Alab. (247Sports)
Blake McClain, 3-star DE; 6'4", 280 lbs.; Ponte Vedra Beach, Flor. (247Sports)
The Huskers got a big commitment from defensive tackle Joe Keels, who flipped his decision from Wisconsin to Nebraska. To understand just how good Keels is, his video on Hudl is enough proof.
Despite the loss of 4-star DT Terrell Clinkscales, there is a lot to be excited about at the defensive line position. Unless things go astray before Feb. 5, the Huskers are looking to add a solid group to the defensive line in 2014.
Jaevon Walton, 2-star ILB; 6’0”, 230 lbs.; New Orleans, La. (247Sports)
Outside linebacker Edwin Freeman is still a top target for Nebraska, but it doesn't look promising that he'll commit to the Huskers.
Instead, Freeman will likely stay in his home state. He's between Texas and Texas A&M, with only an official visit to meet the Aggies.
With that said, the Huskers instead have inside linebacker Jaevon Walton as a verbal commitment.
Walton was originally committed to Louisiana-Lafayette before switching to Nebraska after his official visit.
It just so happens that his official visit came on the weekend of the Northwestern game. With the Huskers' Hail Mary to win the game, it's easy to imagine Walton felt the energy of Memorial Stadium that day.
Walton may only be listed as a 2-star, according to 247Sports.com, but there is a lot of hope that he can make an impact.
Byerson Cockrell, 3-star S; 6’2”, 185 lbs.; Scooba, Miss. (247Sports)
Luke Gifford, 3-star S/ATH; 6,3”, 195 lbs.; Lincoln, Neb. (247Sports)
Joshua Kalu, 3-star S; 6’0”, 171 lbs.; Houston, Texas (247Sports)
Trai Mosley, 3-star CB; 5’10”, 171 lbs.; Pflugerville, Texas (247Sports)
Chris Jones, 3-star CB; 6')", 175 lbs.; Jacksonville, Florida (247Sports)
The Huskers got a big commitment from safety Byerson Cockrell recently.
While Cockrell is listed as a safety by 247Sports.com, he will likely step in to help at corner and nickel to start. Both are areas that Nebraska needs the most assistance at right off the bat.
The benefit is that Cockrell has also already signed his letter of intent. He will be at Nebraska in January to start working out with the team.
Beyond just Cockrell, Nebraska has commits from safety/athlete Luke Gifford, safety Joshua Kalu and cornerback Trai Mosley. All three are also 3-star recruits, according to 247Sports.com.
The addition of all these players are a huge benefit for Nebraska as the Huskers graduate Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Andrew Green, Ciante Evans and Mohammed Seisay.
Drew Brown during an official visit to Lincoln, Neb.
Drew Brown, 2-star K; 5’10”, 160 lbs.; Southlake, Texas (247Sports)
2011 and 2012 combined stats: made 26 of 34 field goals with a career long of 49 yards, per the Omaha World Herald.
Nebraska has earned the nickname "Kicker U" over time. The nickname is rightfully deserved, too. With names such as Alex Henery (Philadelphia Eagles) and Josh Brown (New York Giants) in the NFL, the Huskers continue to churn out strong legs year after year.
Drew Brown is looking to add to that list. He's already set up nicely to do so, as well. After all, his brother—Kris Brown—was a kicker for Nebraska in the mid-90s.
Drew plans to follow in big brother Kris' footsteps and carry on the tradition in 2014 at Nebraska, per the Omaha World Herald.
That's why head coach Bo Pelini personally offered Drew. It seems likely he'll be nothing but another strong kicker for Kicker U.